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Kigezi Prisons Struggling to Transport Inmates from Courts

Inmates appearing before the courts from police detention centres and remanded for the first time in Kabale, Rukiga, and Rubanda districts are taken to Rukiga or Rubanda prisons where they spend 14-days under surveillance and testing before they are transferred to Ndorwa Prison for remand.
Some of Kabale district officials in a Covid-19 taskorce meeting

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Prison authorities in Kigezi sub-region are struggling to transport inmates from courts to Rukiga and Rubanda government prisons for remand.  

Speaking during the Kabale District COVID-19 Taskforce meeting at the district council hall on Thursday afternoon, the in-charge of Ndorwa Prison Alfred Bwambale said that Rubanda Prison in Rubanda district and Rukiga Prison in Rukiga district were turned into isolations centres after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Uganda.

Inmates appearing before the courts from police detention centres and remanded for the first time in Kabale, Rukiga, and Rubanda districts are taken to Rukiga or Rubanda prisons where they spend 14-days under surveillance and testing before they are transferred to Ndorwa Prison for remand.

However, Bwambale explains that often warders and wardens have failed to transport them due to lack of fuel.  Bwambale says that the department does not have fuel and vehicles to transport inmates to Rukiga and Rubanda every working day. He however did not divulge details of what is required to transport the inmates.

//Cue in; “when this Covid came…

Cue out…are remanded.”//

Bwambale says that the possibility of arraigning inmates before the court through zoom is impossible because the technology is not yet installed in prisons across greater Kabale. Bwambale, however, says that they have already discussed the idea of reducing the number of appearances to at least once a week for all suspects to ease transport.

//Cue in; “but we are…

Cue out…yet here.”//

Muhammad Byansi, the Officer-in-Charge of Kabale Central Police Station says that often prisoners have been taken back to police even after appearing before the courts due to lack of transport by the prison authorities. Byansi says that the practice is unacceptable.

//Cue in; “we have been…

Cue out…and police.”// 

Kabale Resident District Commissioner Godfrey Nyakahuma says that if fuel is the only problem, other government vehicles available at the district can be used to transport inmates other than remanding them to police cells. 

//Cue in; “with prisons…

Cue out…with him.”//

So far, 413 inmates have been tested for COVID-19 in Rubanda and Mparo government prisons. Out of the total, 24 tested positive from Mparo prison, and 14 tested positive from Rubanda. All were taken to Mbarara government prison for treatment and recovered. Six prisons staff also tested positive and recovered under the Home-Based Care system. 

So far, a total of 643 inmates are at Ndorwa government prison.

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